Dialogue

Articles

Is Conscientiousness Always—or Ever—a Virtue?

Trudy Goviera1

a1 Trent University

On most views of the nature of moral judgments, it is possible for a person to be mistaken in the belief that it is right to act in a certain way. When someone believes that it is right to do something, does that thing on the basis of such a belief, and yet in so doing commits deeds which are wrong by moral standards other than his own, we do not quite know whether to praise him for his conscientiousness while condemning his actions. He acts according to his conscience and does what he believes to be right, but his beliefs are erroneous and his actions wrong. Shall we praise the man for his conscientiousness while condemning his actions ?